A pelvic fracture can be a very painful experience to go through. The patient is likely to have other serious traumatic injuries as a result of the enormous amount of force necessary to fracture the pelvis. A pelvic fracture occurs when the ring of bones connecting your spine to your hips breaks.
These fractures are most commonly caused by high-energy traumas such as vehicle accidents or falls from a great height in younger patients and falls in the elderly. Healing might take anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. Severe pelvic injuries involving multiple breaks can be life-threatening.
However, if you don’t administer the necessary first aid when the pelvic fracture happens, the healing time can take significantly longer. Controlling bleeding and stabilizing the wounded person’s health are urgent priorities. Without the right treatment, shock, significant internal bleeding, and injury to internal organs are all possibilities.
What Is A Pelvic Sling?
A pelvic sling’s main purpose is to help with bleeding management in patients who are hemodynamically unstable (shocked) and have a suspected or known pelvic injury. Reduced blood loss and prompt evacuation to definitive care are the main therapeutic aims for a patient with a suspected pelvic fracture. The only non-invasive pre-hospital therapy for a pelvic fracture is a pelvic splint or sling.
A pelvic sling is also sometimes called a pelvic binder or pelvic belt/
Why It’s Important to Treat A Pelvic Fracture
Administering first aid to a pelvic fracture is very important. Any type of pelvic fracture might result in life-threatening bleeding. Rapid blood loss and shock can result from blunt trauma and blast damage forces to the pelvic, major arteries, and surrounding vasculature.
How to Use A Pelvic Sling
Pelvic slings help to minimize and stabilize pelvic fractures while also reducing blood loss. The numerous pelvic slings or belts out there on the market are designed to bind the pelvis. The SAM® Pelvic Sling is an example of one of the commonly used pelvic slings on the market. The SAM® Pelvic Sling is the first and only circumferential pelvic belt with force control.
The innovative SAM® AUTOSTOP buckle prevents the SAM® Pelvic Sling from being over-or under-tightened. Two prongs engage when the ideal compressive force is met, clicking to ensure proper application. The Velcro® system strap secures the sling in place. It’s clinically proven to safely and efficiently decrease and stabilize open-book pelvic ring fractures thanks to its optimized one-piece construction.
The SAM® Pelvic Sling minimizes and stabilizes unstable pelvic fractures successfully. It can be administered swiftly and securely on the scene, prior to transport, or in an emergency room. This prevents the patient from further damage while also allowing for safe application by regular EMS staff on the spot.
First responders and ambulance staff can use the SAM sling to stabilize the pelvis before the transfer begins. This lowers the amount of mobility between the lower limbs and the torso, which can slow coagulation and cause blood clots. Here is how you need to apply the pelvic sling:
- Step One – The sling is first positioned around the hip at the level of the pubis symphysis, which is accomplished by moving the sling upwards from beneath the legs. It is important to note that the sling must NOT be placed at the waist. To effectively support the pelvis, the sling needs to be at the hip level.
- Step Two – The orange buckle is then used to hold the sling in place while the black strap has tension placed on it through the buckle mechanism. The buckle locks when the appropriate sling tension (150N/ 33lbs) is reached, preventing too much tension from being applied. The tension is maintained by pushing the tensioning handles against the sides of the sling, where velcro holds them in place.
- Step Three– Do not move the sling until a professional paramedic or medical professional has had time to assess it. The sling can be left in place throughout x-rays. The SAM® Pelvic Sling is radiolucent and practically undetectable on x-rays (which is why it is so widely used). This means that the sling can be left on until definite stabilization is obtained once at the hospital.
The entire procedure of putting the splint and stabilizing the pelvis takes less than five minutes, and one or two persons can do it, even if they have no proper training to do so.
What to Avoid When You’re Applying the Pelvic Sling
Before you apply the pelvic sling, there are a few things to bear in mind. The first thing to remember is to never ‘shake’ the pelvis during an inspection since this may tear new blood vessels, resulting in further bleeding. When the first aider detects instability, he or she should gently compress and firmly keep the pelvis in place. That is the main goal. Allowing the pelvis to return to its resting position may result in additional blood vessel damage.
When applying the pelvic sling during a first aid situation, there are a few things to be cautious of. When tightening the sling, don’t use too much force. With the pelvic sling, certain fracture patterns (especially those with a lateral compression pattern via the pubic rami) will worsen.
Another thing to avoid is to be careful not to place the pelvic sling across the iliac crests. The upper border of the ilium, the biggest of the three bones that make up the pelvis, is the iliac crest. The ilium bone is divided into two sections: the body and the wing. Place your hand on your waist and press firmly to feel your ilium crest. A bony surface will be felt. That is the crest of your ilium. Placing the sling across the iliac crests is a typical mistake because when that happens, it can worsen fractures and prevent access to the area during laparotomy. Instead, apply the pelvic sling to the larger trochanters for the best mechanical support.
You need to be very careful when dealing with a pelvic fracture and when you’re administering the sling as a treatment. Get ortho involved as soon as possible.